Secret Service Agent Shoots Armed Man Outside White House

  • Obama was playing golf and wasn’t on the White House grounds
  • One person taken to the hospital with critical injuries

A U.S. Secret Service agent shot a man with a gun near the White House on Friday, the agency said in a statement. The man was transported to a hospital with critical injuries, the local fire department said.

The Secret Service said that shortly after 3 p.m. New York time a man carrying a firearm approached a checkpoint on a street outside the White House complex. He failed to comply with "numerous verbal commands" to stop and drop the weapon, and was then shot once by an agent and taken into custody, the agency said in a statement.

The Secret Service didn’t identify the man or the agent who shot him. Uniformed officers for the agency provided medical aid before he went to the hospital, the Secret Service said.

President Barack Obama was playing golf and wasn’t at the White House when the incident happened. A spokeswoman for Vice President Joe Biden said in an e-mail that he was "within the complex but secure."

‘Very Tense’

A witness, Akil Patterson of Baltimore, said he was at an inner checkpoint on the White House grounds when he heard a single shot. Guards ran toward the shooting with guns drawn.

"They were like, move, move, move," he said. "Things were very tense."

The guards’ radios carried dispatchers’ reports that shots had been fired and a suspect was down, Patterson said.

A White House official said that no one inside or associated with the complex was hurt and the president had been made aware of the situation. The Secret Service locked down the complex after the incident and re-opened it after about an hour.

Guards armed with rifles were posted at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue and in front of an office building adjacent to the White House after the shooting. A reporter with a White House credential was briefly denied entry to the complex.

The Secret Service regularly contends with people attempting to jump the metal fence that encircles the White House grounds and has proposed raising it in response. In September 2014 a man managed to jump the White House fence and penetrate the executive mansion before being apprehended.

Shootings are unusual.

In 2011 an Idaho man was charged with trying to kill Obama after telling people in his home state he "needed" to assassinate Obama and driving to Washington with an assault rifle and other weapons. He managed to take shots at the White House and was not immediately apprehended by the Secret Service, a lapse that eventually contributed to the director of the agency at the time, Julia Pierson, losing her job.

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